Tag Archives: Football fandom

The world game (Part two)

19 Jun

“After all, is football a game or a religion?”

~ Howard Cosell

The game was scheduled for 7pm, but the gates opened at 1pm. We arrived at 4.30pm and I was amazed at the number of people already in the stadium.

At full capacity el Estadio Nacional can hold 38,000. It didn’t end up being a sold-out match but the crowds were still impressive. Everywhere you looked there was a sea of blue and white (the Honduran team colours).

Blue & white

And the noise! The game didn’t start for another two and a half hours, but already the crowd was yelling and cheering, blowing horns and banging cardboard. The cacophony was overwhelming.

It’s a little shaky, but I recorded about 30 seconds of footage, which will give you an idea of what it sounded like.

For the entire lead-up to kick off the guys in front of us stood, chatting and cheering and drinking beer. I was a bit worried this would be my view for the whole game:

image

Fortunately they sat down once the game started, and only stood up when there were goals or close calls.

And the only goals to be seen were ours! Honduras won 2-0! Woot.

The atmosphere in the stadium was electric, but when Honduras scored a goal it was like 10,000 volts had been sent through the crowd. Everyone jumped to their feet, yelling, screaming, hugging and throwing full cups of beer in the air.

Full cups of beer and full cups of urine too, apparently. Eww!

My friend had warned me earlier there was only one set of bathrooms at the stadium. They would most likely be in an appalling state, so it was best not to drink too much and avoid using them.

Others who want to drink, but also don’t want to use the bathrooms, pee in their empty cups. I’m not 100 per cent sure how one achieves such a feat discretely, surrounded by nearly 38,000 people, but apparently it’s a ‘thing’.

All the amber liquid flying through the air after a goal is scored isn’t necessarily beer or Mountain Dew.

Luckily, not a single drop landed on me so I didn’t have to worry about the unidentified flying liquids. My only moment of worry was when a fight nearly broke out between two men in the rows in front of us.

About 10 police officers with massive batons pushed their way down to the arguing spectators, directly in front of our seats. There was a very tense stand-off, but after a few nerve-wracking minutes the situation was diffused and everyone went back to observing the game.

Watching it all unfold was quite frightening, and I was very relieved when it blew over. I’m not sure what the confrontation was about. It was between two Honduran supporters so wasn’t team rivalry boiling over.

I think I counted a total of five Jamaica supporters in the entire stadium. If I were them I would have been very intimidated, although the police presence, as promised, was massive.

They were spaced out about a metre apart across the top and bottom rows of the estadio. Earlier on they also marched a lap around the soccer field in what I assume was a show of force.

At the end of the game the police, in full riot gear, lined up to make sure the players were able to exit without being mobbed. Although considering there was razor wire on top of the fences separating the seats from the field, it would be difficult for a spectator to cross the barrier.

All in all it was a very exciting afternoon. Honduras’ win meant the crowds leaving the stadium were elated and I was thrilled to survive my trip to the big bad Estadio Nacional with no major incidents.

¡¡Vamos Honduras¡¡

Ticket

The world game (Part one)

19 Jun

“¡¡Un país, una pasión y cinco estrellas en mi corazón!!”

~ From the Selección Nacional de Honduras Facebook page

Hondurans take their fútbol seriously. Very seriously. As you might be aware, we’re in the midst of World Cup qualifying matches at the moment and things are getting pretty tense.

Last night, Honduras lost against Los Estados Unidos. Their next game won’t be until September, when they will face Mexico.

My football knowledge is pretty shaky, but my understanding is they’ll need to win or at least tie the rest of their matches keep their World Cup hopes alive.

The first World Cup qualifier game I watched here (on the big screen) was Honduras v Mexico. I had only just arrived in the country so felt a little torn about who to cheer for.

My host-mum solved my dilemma by gifting me a Selección Nacional de Honduras t-shirt.

Honduras t-shirt

The end result was a 2-2 draw, reflecting my divided loyalties nicely.

Next we played and lost against Panama followed by a loss to Costa Rica. And last week it was do or die against Jamaica.

This game was to be played in el Estadio Nacional here in Tegus. A friend invited me to watch the match with him and I quickly agreed to go.

The expression on my host-mum’s face when I casually mentioned I was going to see the match live was priceless.

Unbeknownst to me the stadium doesn’t have the best reputation. In fact, it’s considered quite insecure and on occasions downright dangerous.

Our housekeeper told me yesterday that if it had been up to her she would have forbidden me to go!

My host-mum’s concerns spooked me a little but my friend assured me there’d be a large police presence (which to me wasn’t necessarily reassuring) and advised me we had tickets in one of the safer areas.

Honduras isn’t necessarily the best country to implement a YOLO attitude to life, but with tickets already purchased and my curiosity piqued (just how bad could it be?) I decided I’d probably regret not going more than going.

Probably…

Hopefully…

(To be continued…)

Dreary Tegus, colourful hammocks and mighty Olimpia

17 Apr

“Miscellaneous is always the largest category.”
~ Joel Rosenberg

Hi folks. It’s a mix bagged of miscellaneous musings today.

Dreary Tegus

I laughed out loud when I saw the weather forecast on my phone yesterday.

DrearyTegus

Dreary. I’ve never seen that descriptor come up before.

It is accurate though as it’s fairly dull here at the moment. Smoke from all the incessant forest fires is blanketing the city. And it’s not just Tegus. For the whole 5-hour drive up to Tela last weekend there was no end to the opaque haze.

I read a news article the other day that said the smoke is unlikely to dissipate until the rains start. We’re expecting the rains to come in the first week in May. Hopefully they will clear the air and make things a bit more pleasant.

Colourful hammocks

It may cost five times as much to mail a hammock home as it will to purchase one, but I’ve decided that I cannot leave Honduras without a hammock of my own. Here’s a snap I took of a hammock stall by the side of the highway on our trip down to San Lorenzo.

Colourful hammocks

I love the colours! They’re so bright and cheerful. I don’t know what sort of apartment or house I’ll rent when I get back to Australia, but it’s definitely going to need room for a hammock.

The hammocks made with a wooden pole at each end are bulkier, but much more comfortable. So despite the increase in postage I think this is the sort I will buy. I’ve spent many hours on the hammock at our house in Valle de Angeles. And I can foresee spending many more there in the coming months. Bliss.

Mighty Olimpia

I’ve now taken the plunge and picked a Honduran football team to cheer for. Although I didn’t really have much choice in the matter.

Lombardo, the 15-year-old son of the lady my host-family employs to look after my host-grandparents in the evening, asked me the other day if I had football team. When I told him I didn’t have one yet he promptly gifted me his Olimpia chain.

Olimpia

He’s such a sweet and generous kid. After discovering that I can read in Spanish, as well as speak it, he’s also loaned me his favourite book, Querido Yo. I’ll have to write up a book review once I finish it.

I double checked with Lombardo to make sure he really wanted to give me the necklace, and he told me he had a second one at home and that if I was going to cheer for a team it had to be Olimpia.

It turns out they’re the oldest team in Honduras (they celebrated their 100th anniversary last year) as well as the (disputably) most popular.

My new necklace has caused a little bit of controversy in the office though. I’ve now discovered that my boss is an unwavering Motagua fan—Olimpia’s biggest rival. Oops.

It’s always good to have a bit of team diversity though, right?